Manchester United finally announced their new Head of Academy on Monday night as Nicky Butt, nearly a year since Brian McClair departed to join the Scottish FA.
The news has been met in different ways. On the one hand, it’s great that we finally have a new Head of Academy and can genuinely look towards restructuring the club correctly from the bottom-up.
On the other hand, how did it possibly take a year to replace McClair from a man who was in the club at the time of him leaving?
Did the club just forget that they hadn't replaced Brian McClair? How has it taken them a YEAR to decide Nicky Butt should get the job? ????
— Scott Patterson (@R_o_M) February 15, 2016
The appointment of Butt reeks of a lack of alternatives. Rejected approaches for Michael Appleton, former academy player and current Oxford United manager, and John McDermott, Tottenham Hotspurs’ head of coaching and development, were well documented.
Now, this is not to say Butt’s appointment is a bad one, far from it. He’s a man who has spent years in various roles at United including being in charge of our U19s, so he has experience in the role and knows exactly what it takes to successfully graduate from the academy but the timing of it encapsulates the general feeling of United right now.
Had Butt been first choice, he’d have taken the role on last year. Instead, the incompetence of the club to see a promotion from within has helped our academy fall dramatically behind Manchester City. We are now playing catch up.
It sums United up at moment. While we once thought two steps ahead of other clubs, our inability to make quick and correct decisions – at every level – is starting to really hurt us and it’s why we find ourselves in the current situation where widespread change is a necessity.